As a small business owner, you’re often pulled in different directions. There are employees to manage. Invoices to send. Orders to fulfill. Customers or clients to respond to. And then there’s the ever-important marketing of your business. Today, that marketing plan should include an online (website and social media) presence.
With so much going on, updating your website may be a lower priority than taking a “coffee break”. But having a modern, purpose-driven website is not only important, it’s necessary. And it’s equally important and necessary that your website work for you. This can be achieved by using an effective call to action on every page.
What is a Call to Action?
According to Wikipedia, a call to action is “an instruction to the audience to provoke an immediate response, usually using an imperative verb such as ‘call now’, ‘find out more’ or ‘visit a store today’.”
On a website, a call to action is usually a button or text link that engages your visitors before they leave. A call to action is measurable, and you can determine its effectiveness by how visitors interact with it.
There are many examples of effective calls to action. Some of the more common ones seen in the wild include:
- collecting an email address in exchange for downloading a white paper or case study
- subscribing to a blog or news feed
- sharing content on social media
- learning more information about a particular subject
- adding an item to a shopping cart
- an easy to find phone number and/or business address
Missing the Boat
Unfortunately, many small businesses either don’t have a call to action, or aren’t taking full advantage of them.
The Score Association found that while 97% of consumers search online for products and services, 70% of small business websites have no call action. Another study presented by Small Business Trends discovered that 72% of small businesses don’t have a call to action beyond the home page, and 70% don’t have a prominently-displayed phone number. Additionally, 82% are missing social links, and 96% aren’t promoting any kind of how-to guide or white paper.
These are missed opportunities for your small business, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
How A Call to Action Can Improve Your Website
An effective call to action strategy will make your site purpose-driven. It can convert your site from a boring, informational outpost into an interactive sales and lead generation tool.
The best way to start is to ask yourself what your visitors are looking for, and what you can offer them in exchange for taking an action.
Let’s say you run a machine shop. You’re fortunate enough to have a modern website highlighting key projects that your business has worked on. Some of your visitors may be purchase reps reviewing your work. They’ll likely want to contact you, so make it easy for them. Provide a phone number on every page of your site. Add a “request a quote” button to each project page. Provide your visitor with a simple means to interact with your business.
On the other hand, let’s assume you’re a real estate agent. Your site is frequented by visitors interested in the local market. You may already provide a means to do MLS searches. Add a call to action to send your visitors weekly updates, or offer a “how-to” guide for getting the most value out of a new home in exchange for their email address.
There are more ways to use calls to action to engage with your customers, and there are tips and tricks to making these more effective. We’ll cover these in future articles. For now, the takeaway is that a good call to action can increase engagement on your website, and at the same time can help you generate a return on your website investment.